Yahoo CEO Steps Down

Dennis Faas's picture

After a year and a half atop one of the web's most powerful search companies, Jerry Yang has decided to step down as chief executive of Yahoo. The co-founder of the number two search engine has in the last year unsuccessfully attempted financial agreements with competitors Microsoft and Google, and the company remains in tatters heading into 2009.

Yang, 40, won't completely abandon the company he helped found, however. Although he'll no longer assume the duties of chief executive, Yang plans on returning to his previous position as "chief Yahoo", or corporate strategist. Thus, he'll remain on the board and will probably still yield a considerable amount of decision-making power. The major difference may be in responsibility.

According to Yahoo representatives, the decision was mutual and had been in negotiations for some time. Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock told the media, "Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new C.E.O. who can take the company to the next level." (Source:

Yahoo has immediately launched a campaign in pursuit of a new CEO, hiring executive search company Heidrick & Struggles to weed through candidates. Now's your chance to helm a struggling web power.

With that said, investors reacted positively to news of Yang's stepping down. Although shares closed at $10.63 on Monday, in after-hours trading they jumped a considerable 4 per cent. Many industry insiders and financial hotshots believe Yang's decision could mark the bottom for Yahoo -- assuming the only way from here is up.

Yang's tenure was certainly a difficult time for the company. The former CEO faced his greatest challenge when Microsoft sidled up to the struggling search power earlier this year. Yang initially balked at Microsoft's lofty offer of $31 a share to take over the company (at the time, Yahoo shares sold for $19), but then changed his position and began exploring an exchange for more money. That deal fell through, and not long ago another attempt to revive the company -- a deal that would have seen Google ads on Yahoo sites -- was squashed by the Department of Justice citing antitrust issues. (Source:

In a semi-farewell memo to employees, Yang solemnly quipped, "all of you know that i have always, and will always bleed purple." His replacement will somehow have to stop Yahoo's own haemorrhage.

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